Animals have mental health too

Before we get into this post I just wanted to state that this post was meant for yesterday however none of my work saved that day and I was forced to re-write the whole thing. I was very emotional while re-writing this and it may come across in my post but I don’t want my overemotional self to distract for todays goals, which is raising awareness for our pets mental health. They suffer just as much as we do, if not more so.

So today is still part of Mental Health Awareness Week and opening up more a little on just a small portion of what I have gone through, just a little of the invisible battle I fight on a day to day basis has me feeling a little relieved, proud, hopeful (that’s it’s helped someone), nervous and beyond anxious. I couldn’t tell you how many times I almost convinced myself not to post one of my posts but pushed through my mental health that is forever raising its ugly head and clicked that ‘publish’ button.

But more than anything it has left me emotionally and mentally fried and on edge. As relieving as it is to finally have some of my demons off my chest and out into the open its still an incredibly difficult thing to open up about so publicly and I still have to stop myself from re-reading through my posts, knowing that I would find some reason for me to delete them. So I do apologise if any of my posts have any grammar/spelling mistake or words missing but I do fear that if I let myself read over them so thoroughly then I’m going to convince myself to delete it. Defeating the whole purpose of writing it in the first place and starting this blog.

So I want to take the attention from my mental health today and direct it onto our pets. Now when we look at animals and think about animals we don’t really take into account that our animals, our pets could be suffering from mental health illnesses. We know that like us, they can have physical illnesses/disabilities, so why do we never think that they can have mental illnesses and disabilities too?

Read my blog post: How, Tilly became Kitt-Katt

Whether you have been following my blog for a long time or not a lot of you will know that I have a cat called Kitt-Katt (yes like the chocolate). Whom I have had for a little over six years now, Kitt-Katt has become my little heart and soul, I don’t know what I’d do without him in my life.

I believe when we pick a pet for ourselves we pick them because we see something in them that we see in ourselves, something broken or lost, or a means to feel needed in life by having another life depend on you. What ever the reason that pet has little piece of our personality in them, it draws us to them in ways we can’t explain.

When I would look at Kitt, It instantly dawned on me that he was cat version of me. I was/am a creature that like him is full of so much anxiety that I’m almost bouncing out of my skin from it, trying to blend into the background and shadows of the world in the hopes to avoid human contact and interaction as much as I can. What I saw in him broke my heart, I couldn’t find it in myself to feel sorry for me, but for him? It wasn’t something I wanted, it was then I’d decided that we’d both find away to beat our mental problems together.

When I first got him he was so very timid, frightful of everything and at times, a little vicious when his fear over took him and he lashed out at someone (usually I’d find my self on the receiving end of his fear/anger because I didn’t want him harming anyone else). He was also worrying skinny to the point you could see bones sticking out of him, it appeared he was so frightful in his last owners home that he couldn’t even bring himself to eat so he never, he let himself starve.

As much as I wanted too I couldn’t really blame his previous owner fully for his condition. She was just uneducated before getting her cat and clearly thought that little care went into looking after one which is probably why she thought it would be a good idea to have one while she had a newly running around and rowdy toddler. I’m angry that she never took having a kitten so seriously, that she never did any research or that she thought her child wouldn’t be so hands on with an animal. It was clear that there was no teaching going on when it came to handling and caring for an animal, and that is what makes me so angry.

If you are going to get an animal for your child, the least you can do is teach your child how to be delicate with the animal, how to play and properly behave around an animal (as apposed to having your child throw a 4 month old kitten into a washing machine and probably just telling your child off for the one action, instead of taking time to sit down and educate them a little so the next time they came a cross an animal they’d be more confident and gentle around it). But this isn’t what this post is about.

For a week he wouldn’t move out of a corner in a room under the dining table out of fear. I could see it in his eyes and it broke my heart. You could see he was suffering and I just couldn’t take it.

When I had finally managed to get him exploring the house a little more, he would instantly run back into that corner of his at the slightest of sounds. After 6 long, hard months of trail and error I had finally got Kitt to the point where he was sleeping in my bed with me, sitting on the couch, sitting next to me while I read a book. I had him playing with toys and gaining a lot more weight.

My boyfriend giving my Kitt-Katt attention and me, taking this opportunity to take a selfie of Kitt-Katt while he has a look of pure love and bliss on his face from the attention he’s being given. (He was also purring really loudly here -hence why I look like I’m about to laugh…I was, he only purrs that loud for my boyfriend!)

Kitt (like myself) instantly took to my boyfreind and was already at ease with him, it forever melts my heart seeing them together and the bond that was instantly in place. Even I had to work for my bond with Kitt and he’s my cat!

It was more than pretty clear that Kitt suffers with extreme anxiety and PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder) and a helping hand as well patience and gentle love and care. It’s taken five years to see a big difference in that time he has had kittens and (before he has his kittens there was no need in getting him done, he wasn’t aggressive with other cats, very submissive and didn’t seem to know why he owned a peinse -for the longest time we all believed I had a gay cat running arounf the house which was prefect for me, it meant I wouldn’t have worry about getting him done and dealing with any babies he makes -so there was never a need to have him done until he met my sister’s cat Misty-Moo.) been done, he has gone missing for two days and come back, he has had a few blow outs and a few set backs but now, now he’s like a totally different cat.

When my Kitt met Misty-Moo he was instantly smitten with her, and it seem her with him. They instantly started playing together. This would be the first time my Kitt played with another cat, he was usually scared of other cats -female and males alike- and only played with humans. You would finding them sleeping side by side together, taking little naps and my Kitt even caught a mouse for her! (Don’t get me wrong I hate when my cats bring dead things into the garden, but the gesture in itself and coming from my Kitt was beyond sweet and something I didn’t even think he would ever do. It really seems as though my Kitt has fallen in love with Misty-moo)

Today Kitt’s anxiety is much less sever than it was 5 years ago, and although he still has his bad days/weeks, he seems to be a lot more happier. It wasn’t easy in getting him to this place, and there had been more than a few occasions where I almost took him to the vets asking for some kind of anxiety medication for him but I wasn’t ready to give up just yet, I still wasn’t convinced that his mental health was so sever that he needed the medication, I still believed he just needed to be shown the proper love, care and patience.

I have another pet with a mental health issue which I will post tomorrow as the last day of Mental Health Awareness Week (though I am going to continue posting a lot more mental health awareness related posts for Mental Health Awareness Month)

I hope that this post can make you look and view your pets in a different light, and if your pet seem extra timid or angry/vicious it could be for a really good reason. They could be mentally or even physically suffering! Take them to the vet, see if their behaviour is caused by a bone or skin or something other unseen problem. If not, stop and think maybe your pet is suffering mentally then, and if so, you then need to determine whether it’s so bad that your love, care, patience, time and energy won’t be able to help them then please take them to the vet and get them the medication they need. I don’t like the thought of any animals on medication, but like with us humans sometimes we need that extra bit of help that no one, not even ourselves can give us.

Last week I had made the decision for myself to go back onto anti-depressants, I have them sat in my cupboard untouched because I’m still not entirely sure about it, however the past couples of months have made me think more and more, and I have been thinking that I may need that little extra bit of help until I can fully help myself right now. And I’m not sure if I’ll even end up taking them this year but I want others to know that it’s OKAY if the help of others and yourself isn’t getting you anywhere, if their help isn’t helping, it doesn’t make you weak or a bad person for needing medication. Everyone has their ways of help, sometimes our problems are more extreme than others which mean sometimes that extra bit of help is needed.

And it doesn’t make you a bad pet owner if you can’t help your pet. Like us sometimes the need more help than we can provide and that’s OKAY. That’s helping them and giving them the relief and peace they never even knew existed. Helping your pet doesn’t make you a bad pet owner.

And to pet owners thinking about giving up their pet due to behaviour, please just take a second to stop and think… What if there more to it that meets the eye, what you can still get to keep your pet and help your pet feel the peace and love it needs.

Please don’t give up on your pets, they wouldn’t give up on you!

Announcement

This wasn’t what I wanted for today’s post but I’ve been having an incredibly difficult day today and to top the cherry off all my work for today’s post never got saved, leaving me post-less for the day and having to spend the night writing today’s and tomorrows post.

I just want to thank everyone for their on going and continuing support as I learn to open up about my mental health. I’m not really great with my words (ironic coming from someone who has spent her whole life writing them down) but I’m not great at expressing my emotions very well, even less so when trying to use words out loud without writing them down and not being given the time to over analysing them for days first.

But opening up, getting myself out there is something I have made my mission to do this year. Getting over my social anxiety of talking to people online was a big step I’m so happy I’ve manage to knock out of the park this year as before if someone would try to message me I’d block them with a racing heart. It genially gives me anxiety to just talk to someone, even through a message. But I’ve beaten that part of my anxiety this year which is so amazing and I truly am proud of myself for that. I’ve been isolating myself for years, the only one I’ve not managed to scare off is my boyfriend whom I love more than simply word/sentence could explain.

It’s your continued support, messages and comments that helps encourage me to keep going and to keep on my blogging journey. When starting my blog this year in February I couldn’t have prepared myself for the emotional, mental and even physical toll blogging would have on me in just a short amount of time. I went into this with the intentions of investing my all into this blog, my love, pain, sweat, tears, happiness, hope, everything that I have to offer. But I didn’t expect anything to truly happen until at least a year into blogging. I didn’t to gain so much attachment to it so quietly nor did I expect I’d have one person reading my post but now my blog has reached over 200 followers over the short course of time with such incredible viewers.

As stated above I have found dealing with today rather difficult. In all honesty the last two months I have been really struggling to feel the positivity and lightness that I’m trying to spread throughout my blog and social media accounts.

My depression has been trying to grip hold of me in it’s cold, claw like grip to drag me down a hole I no longer want to find myself in. In turn this has kicked my anxiety off into a totally different direction, which is only making my feel worse, and just feeding my depression and messy thoughts.

On top of that I haven’t stuck to my yoga or workouts the why I had planned, and my eating has gone back down, although when my doctor weighed me last week on Thursday I hadn’t lost any weight, I hadn’t gained any either, which is the usual story when it comes to my weight. I either lose it or I stay they same, no change. It get’s so unbearably frustrating sometimes and today I really wanted to give up on everything… I kind of still do but I’m hoping I’ll be able to push through this because I don’t want this blog to be yet another thing in my life that I loved and had taken over/away by my mental health.

I want to continue ‘writing my dream’ of becoming an author. I want to keep this drive to keep writing my novel, this drive to help others and write my posts. I don’t want to lose the one good thing I’ve managed to gain control of.

My mental health has literally taken over my life in every way it possibly could, I’m a slave to my mental health, a puppet whose strings are being controlled solely by my mental health. The only things is hasn’t taken from me is my family, my boyfriend and my pets.

This isn’t forever, I know that. I know some day I’m going to be able to beat all my demons and finally know what inner peace feels likes, one day I’m finally going to love myself and the world I’m in.

But right now I’m taking it one step at a time and today…today was bad step. But it’s okay, it’s okay because it just reminds me, well, I do have good day, if I didn’t I wouldn’t be able to identify the bad ones like I once wasn’t able to do.

Here’s a picture of me and Toby yesterday. (Photo credits to my boyfriend) Its strange how one really bad day can set you back from months work, but I’ll pick myself up and dust myself off.

I’m hoping to have today’s post re-written by tonight and ready for you all tomorrow, along with tomorrows intended post.

And again, I truly can’t express how much I appreciate all the supportive and heartwarming comments and messages. I was planning on doing a little giveaway this week but I really want to give back and show just how much reading my posts, following me and supporting me really means to be.

Instead I’m going to be planning a big giveaway, where there can be up to at least 3-4 winners. Thank you for reading and I hope you all have a lovely Friday night and even better weekend.

Coping with Anxiety Outside

Anxiety is something that has taken over and ruled my life from a very young age, I’ve tried many methods to rid myself of it or lesson the effects and hold that it has on me. There was a time I wasn’t able to leave my house, frozen by anxiety with even the thought of going near a door that lead to the outside world, loosing friends, feeding my depression and making my health both mental and physically terrible.

I’m so happy to say that’s no longer my life. I still suffer from sever anxiety and depression but I am now able to leave the house from time to time for shopping, going out somewhere with my boyfriend and friends, I’m now able to do what I used to love doing most when I was a child (beside climbing and writing), taking walks through nature and exploring old area’s. I know have some control back over my life.

Some techniques have worked where other have failed, none of them have be able to rid me of this however a few techniques have helped me through the worst of my anxiety.

I thought I’d ask the wonderful people on twitter what tricks/ techniques they use to help deal or cope with their anxiety while outside and here were they responses:

Exposure therapy. Smelling lavender oil. I have pills if it gets really bad but my goal is to never have to take them again. – @girl_importance

Oftentimes I’m anxious about failure and disappointment. I tell myself it’s okay if I fail, or if I mess up. Life is too short to be distracted from happiness by success/failure. I have to keep reminding myself to be present with myself, or else I’m quick to forget. – @AGPetersen2

Diaphragmatic breathing. –@MorbidParamour

I use Rescue Remedy. I wrote a post about it. – @Imdatgirlx (CLICK HERE to be directed to her post on Rescue Remedy)

I now feel better, but I suffered PTSD and… the only way I found was to write…It did help. – @KaceyKells

When I start overthinking everything on the earth in my life I take a nap. Not the best advice for serious anxiety but it’s like a little reset button. – @AllieVegas

Make sure I always have some backup little things to ground me. Peppermint, soft-mints, eg, which helps calm guts going into hyper-drive when I’m getting anxious. And I feel an attack coming on, have some safe place songs on my phone & quick free flow writing on my phone notepad. So a lot of stupid little things like that really. So if you have anything you make a routine out of when recovering from an anxiety attack, make a portable equivalent. Also recinnebd Fearne Cotton’s Calm book. There’s techniques in there that have been life changing for me! @Chromosoner

I always found that asking myself this question help to disrupt the anxious thoughts and get you back to being present when you can enjoy the day you’re having. ‘What, at this moment, is lack?’ Think about it deeply and look around at what you’re doing. Bonus tip; Write ‘NOW’ in biro on your finger or hand. Then every time you see it throughout the day, you’ll be reminded to ask the question. –
@_mikearnold

I have started using breathing to help control my anxiety. 4 Seconds in, 7 seconds hold and 8 seconds out. I repeat that until I begin to feel better. It works sometimes, other times it’s a struggle. – @Nyxiesnook

Deep breathing to keep calm – @PagePlacePlate

Trace The image of a square in your head. Breath in for 4 second as you are imagining drawing the top line of the square, hold your breath for 4 seconds as you trace the vertical line down, release breath for 4 as you trace the bottom horizontal line, then hold for 4 seconds. – @Katyroseblogs

I find relaxation helps but mainly practised indoors and regularly to start with. Mindfulness also helps, in my experience. – @Steheadspace

Yoga, Music, Aromatherapy, muscle relaxation. – @Just_Jess_18

My way of coping with my anxiety disorder was to stop fighting my intrusive thoughts and just allow them to run their course. They lost a lot of power over me once I started doing that. – @UnwantedLife_Me

Breaking everything up into time chunks helps me a bunch. – @Valkyriesblog

I would count as many things that I could see that were a specific colour, so how many things can I see, something blue etc. – @RebeccaJGibson

Deep breathing. Affirmations. Visual boards (on my phone/online) – @adwaita_one

Stopping and looking into the distance for something like a tree and then gazing at it with soft eyes and notice what you can see to left and right of the tree without moving your eyes to focus on them. It’s a great technique and distracts you. – @Vampybear

Click their user names to be directed straight to their twitter accounts!

(Click here to be directed to the YouTube video) I really like this GIF to help. – @PagePlacePlate

For me I haven’t been able to find anything that really works for me. I still struggle to leave the house, I’m always with a friend, family member or I usually have my boyfriend by my side talking me through any anxiety attacks that I may get when being outside. He has helped in teaching me to control my breathing at times for the short period of times I am outside on my own for whatever reason so I don’t go into a panic attack.

I also use the Alphabet to control my anxiety during those rare moments I am out alone, repeatedly going through the alphabet in my head until I reach my destination. And I count my step when walking or try thinking about the book I’m currently reading, I try and do anything I can think of that can help take my mind off being outside.

I hope that these tips from other’s who suffer anxiety can maybe help you from time to time. Remember that everyone anxiety levels are different, sometimes it worse for others where it isn’t for some. And not every tip or trick is going to help you, everyone is different and what works for some people may not work for others. That doesn’t mean you are worse off, or can’t be helped. It just means you need to keep trying out different technique that can help you.

If there is anything you’d like to add or have something that wasn’t mention on here please leave it in the comments below, I’d love to hear what helps you! I will also be doing a follow up post on this, adding in any new comments/techniques that you leave in the comment section.

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